Debow's Review "Department of Immigration and Labor"
The following excerpts from the Southern journal, Debow's Review, reveals that although Southerners were not willing to settle Freedmen on their lands, they were in desperate need of settlers. Debow's Review often included a section on Immigration and Labor which reveals the South's efforts to promote immigration to the South by both Americans and Europeans.
1.--THE LOUISIANA BUREAU
We are indebted to J. C. Kathman Esq., Chief of the Bureau of Immigration for Louisiana, for a number of extracts from his official registry, showing the wants of the people and the sacrifices they are willing and eager to make to induce labor to come among them. We have space for only two letters in this issue, but will recur to these papers at some future time. It will be hard if such offers as the following should fail to attract attention.
NEW ORLEANS, Oct., 25th, 1867.
To the Chief Of the Bureau:
SIR,--I have twenty acres of land six miles from this city, on the Gentilly Road, on which I want to get a man and family to cultivate the same. It has four hundred plum trees and nine pecan trees, is rich land and also a good market garden. The person will have to supply himself with a horse and cart, as well as with his own rations, and I will expect in payment for rent, half of the crop. The man can get possession of the land on the first of December. Yours respectfully,
AMITE CITY, LA., Oct., 28th, 1867.
To the Chief of the Bureau:
SIR,--I have one thousand acres of land free from overflow, within twenty miles of Jackson Railroad, and seventy miles from New Orleans. I propose to divide said track in forty acre lots, and give to a company of immigrants every alternate block, on condition that each settler clear and put in culti- vation twenty acres, and build a cabin within two years; or I will sell said track for $2,500 cash, or if they want time, ten per cent. interest for one to three years. There are others adjoining my land who would divide, and give half to actual settlers. No portion of the country can boast of as good health and water; it is situated in the parish of St. Helena.
Very respectfully, B. MOORE.
The European agents of the Bureau encounter the same opposition and representation of which Gen. Wagner complains. Mr. Kathman has furnished us with reports from his representatives in Stockholm and Zu- rich, in some of the influences brought to bear upon the emigrant to divert him from the South are recounted. Despite these influences, how ever, the agent in Stockholm promises a large supply of hardy Swedes and Norwegians in the spring. The Rev. B. F. White, agent at Zurich, writes as follows:
J. C. KATHMAN, ESQ.
Chief of the Bureau of Immigration for State of Louisiana.
HON. SIR,--Your communication of May 21st, was received yesterday. In reply, I herewith make my report, as a sub agent of your Bureau. I ar- rived in Europe, (Havre) July 3d, 1866, and proceeded immediately to this place, where I have remained during the whole year. I found that many influences bad been brought to bear upon the minds of the Swiss, preju- dicing them against the South. They were told that the heat was so severe that laborers could not live; that diseases of all kinds and of the severest types reigned there without any control, and carried off to the grave all new comers; that the Southern citizens would and could enslave them and their children, together with many other things quite as false. I set myself immediately to work to, counteract these influences, by publishing cards, hand- bills, and by commu- nicating personally with the people. I am happy to inform you that now there are thousands ready to emigrate to the State of Louisiana us soon as they have means to enable them to go. I would have sent last fall quite a number if there had been any regular line of steamers from the con- tinent to New Orleans. Many prepared themselves to go, and became tired of waiting for vessels, and went to New York. It is true they could have gone via New York, but the cost is much more, and then there are agents interested in getting emigration for the West, that but few if any, can be expected to ever get far South by way of New York. The route via Liverpool to New Orleans is so very expensive, and requires so many changes, that none are willing to take it. I have published and distri- buted several hundred tracts descriptive of Louisiana. Those sent to me by the Bureau never came to hand. I still have a number on hand which I will distribute. I have sent to Louisiana only twenty-five immigrants in in all, whereas, with direct communication I could have sent thousands of the upper best class of the laboring population. I will remain here until September, anything that I can do for the enter- prise will be cheerfully done. I remain, with esteem,
Yours truly, B. F. White.
ZURICH, SWITZERLAND, June 11th, 1867
2.--THE BUREAU IN SOUTH CAROLINA.
The arrival of 150 German immigrants at the port of Charleston, on the 28th of November, was made the occasion of quite a jubilee in that city. Commenting upon the welcome given to the newly arrived by their relatives and by the citizens generally, the New York Herald says:
The welcome extended by the citizens of Charleston to the hundred and fifty German immigrants who arrived at that port on Wednesday, by the Bremen bark Gauss, under the auspices of the State Immigration Board, is a happy omen. It is probable that not a few of the five hundred and thir- teen German passengers who arrived at New York on Thursday, by the Bremen steamship Weser, which, by the by, has made the fastest passage ever made by a screw steamer from Southampton to this port--nine days and three hours--may find their way to the South. German immigration to the South will unquestionably prove as invaluable a source of advantage to that section, as it has hitherto proved to the great Northwest. The German immigrants bring over with them, not only the wealth of muscle and intelli- gence with frugal and industrious habits, but also no small stock of hard silver dollars. Their ideas are sometimes prone to be radical under the in- fluence of revolutionary republicans of the European type, but their radical proclivities here rarely travel any farther than such unwarrantable interfer- ence with their social habits as our black republicans have ventured upon, oppressive Sunday and Excise laws, will permit. Those who have been red republicans in Germany are black republicans here, only so long as their lager beer is not rashly meddled with. This is one lesson taught by the late elections. Wherever the German immigrants may go, they consti- tute a useful and important element in our population; and especially in the South, in its present condition, they should be heartily welcomed.
Source: Debow's Review, November
1867, pages 575-77.